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(NPPLC) Chapter #8 - Duke Mu Forgives the Horse-Eaters


xuexiansheng

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xuexiansheng

This thread is for the discussion of chapter eight in A New Practical Primer of Literary Chinese by Paul Rouzer.

Please keep in mind the ground rules posted in the first lesson's thread.

For general discussion and a schedule for the study group, please see the proposal thread.

--

Thanks to user navaburo posting all the chapters up until now! It looks like he's got other things on his plate, so I'm going to start this thread and keep working through the book. We are a little bit behind our schedule, let's keep this study group alive!

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xuexiansheng

This lesson made me laugh when I thought about all the recent scandals in the UK about horse meat. "吾聞食駿馬肉不飲酒者殺人" I guess everyone that unknowingly ate horse meat was washing it down with liquor and survived! :wink:

I did have two questions on the practice questions.

1. In the 8.3 Suppression of cover-objects and 以, grammar explanation questions #2: (p.85)

(we're supposed to do this two ways-with a coverb interpretation and with an 'in order to' interpretation)

為善之君畏己臣(,)以聽其諫。

Rouzer translates it like this:

The lord who does good is in awe of his own ministers, and by means of that/because of that, he listens to their remonstrances. The lord who does good is in awe of his own ministers in order that he may listen to their remonstrances.

Is the 為 making this 'does good'? I was thinking it was 'for the sake of...', (but for the sake of whom?) or 'to be', it didn't make sense at the the beginning of the sentence.

2. In the same grammar explanation, practice #2 (translating english -> classical.) Why is the subject dropped in #6 but repeated in what Confucius says in #8?

6. Why are people ashamed? They are unable to repay my lord's kindness of the past.

民奚為慚?不能報我君之宿恩也。

8. After three years went by, Jin immediately sent people to present Confucius with a horse. Confucius said to them, "I have lost a horse before; I am unable to value them. Please return it to the duke."

居三年,晉即使人賜孔子馬。孔子謂曰:“我嘗失馬,我不能貴之。請還之於公。”

I repeated the subject in #6 and left it out in #8. Is there a rule for this I'm missing?

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xuexiansheng

@myself

I blanked that 為 also means 'to do'. I was focusing on 'for the sake of..' and 'to be'. It makes sense now ((為善)之君))

I'll be starting Lesson #09 later this week, anyone still reading along?

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  • 2 weeks later...
navaburo

Finally got around to this lesson. Thanks for sticking with it xuexiensheng!

--

I had fun reading this lesson text. I did something different this time: copying the text into a notebook sentence-by-sentence and then translating to English, using only the lesson notes as a guide. (i.e., not cheating with the translation in the back.) I managed to translate everything ok except for:

"殺人" - I was thinking "kill people" instead of Rouzer's idiomatic "kill a man". The point here (that I missed) is that 人 refers to the horse eaters themselves. This is similar to the pronoun "one" in English (which curiously enough in German is "man" (that's literally how they spell it. The word for 'man' is "Mann", but it's no coincidence that the words are so close!)

”往時食馬肉者“ I didn't catch that 往時 is attaching to the 者 phrase and not to the entire sentence. I guess this comes with practice, and realizing the differences in usage between 嘗,往時,居, and other words that have "past" meaning.

I totally missed that 惠公 was a name. Should have been obvious I guess, but I was thrown off by the title-as-suffix rather than as prefix as in English.

The last sentence totally lost me. 此德出而福反也。I knew it would need to split into subject and object phrases because of the 也, but the fact that 此 could stand for "This is a case where" didn't cross my mind... I kept reading it as "This virtue ...". (I guess Mandarin does this too. You can have 這 on its own as in 這是甚麼?)

I'll have to get back to you on the practice excersizes. I did them the other day in the park, but rather poorly. I need to go back and try again before checking your second post and Rouzer's solutions.

Cheers! Thanks again for the motivation!

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xuexiansheng

@navaburo

Welcome back! Glad you're still working on the book. I've been busy getting ready for my trip, maybe I can do another lesson or two before I leave. After the trip, I'll be back in June and would love to work on more Rouzer together.

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navaburo

RE Post #1 Item 2 (@xuexiansheng)

From what I gather, the rule for subject-dropping in Classical is much like that in Japanese: If context allows the subject to be dropped without risking that the sentence be misunderstood. The same goes for any other part of the sentence except the main verb.

In Japanese this is taken a step further: If a subject is explicitly stated when the context would have already made it clear, the meaning of the sentence is changed; depending on the particle used it is like putting the subject in italics. I am not sure whether it would be fair to say this of Classical however.

As for the specific example you gave, I think it's better to drop the subject in the second sentence of Confucius's reply. My answer was: 居三年,晉即使人賜孔子馬。對曰:我嘗亡馬,不能貴之,請反之公。

I realize that my choice of 反 was wrong because 反 means 'return' as in 'return home', whereas Rouzer's 還 means 'return' as in 'return books to the library'. As for the 於 he inserts before 公, I'm not convinced that is needed. I suppose it depends on if 還 can take a double object or if it indeed requires the help of a preposition to indicate the indirect object.

Also, I wonder if there is a difference between 失馬 and 亡馬. Perhaps the former means simply 'to lose a horse' whereas the latter implies that the horse is dead; kind of like the meaning of 'lost' in "He lost his mother last month."

Two Other Curiosities

I missed the 宿 character in the answer to E-to-C #6. I suppose this second meaning took me off guard. I wonder what the etymology of this "of old" sense is. Apparently this sense is still in modern Chinese; the Guifan gives 宿:...[形]多年的;一向有的,[形]老年的;有經驗的, ... Maybe it is foolish of me to get caught up in etymological questioning, but this one I couldn't resist.

I was surprised to find 雖 placed after the subject in E-to-C #4. In Modern Chinese you have the pattern 雖然X, 可是Y. I suppose that 雖 in Classical has an adverbial syntax rather than conjunctional as in the Modern 雖然.

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  • 2 years later...
somethingfunny

In the second practice (English to Chinese), question number 6, there is a 也 at the end of the sentence - does this indicate that the second sentence is an answer to the question posed first?  I'm starting to find it hard to not just ignore it whenever I see a 也, it seems to have a pretty weak role.

 

One problem I had this lesson was with the use of 得, especially 得以.  Did I miss this being defined somewhere? Should I just interpret it as "in order to" or something similar?  For example, the line 穆公卒得以解难胜晋, I can break down like this:

 

穆公 (Duke Mu) 卒 (finally) 得以 (??) 解难 (solve a problem) 胜晋 (beat Jin).  

 

Rouzer has "by means of this" can then solve problems, beat Jin etc.  I find it hard to see how this works.  If it was just 以, as in  穆公卒以解难(而)胜晋 then I would be very happy with the meaning “Duke Mu was finally, by means of solving this problem, able to defeat Jin".  I guess the problem I'm having is that Rouzer has somewhere got a "this" in his translation and I don't see where it comes from, or what it refers to.  I guess its not a major problem, but it would be nice for it to be a little clearer in my mind.

 

I'm going away this summer but I'm hoping I can get through chapters 9, 10 and the review before I leave in a few weeks.  Not that it really matters anyway, I just hope anyone else who picks up this book can find something helpful here like I have!

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  • 1 year later...

"Is the 為 making this 'does good'? I was thinking it was 'for the sake of...', (but for the sake of whom?) or 'to be', it didn't make sense at the the beginning of the sentence."

-This caught me too. Took me a while to realise that the 爲 is "do" not "for".

 

"The last sentence totally lost me. 此德出而福反也"

- I still haven't read the translation at the back of the book. Writing this post first. But I read this sentence as "[when you] Offer/present/exhibit 出 this 此 [kind of] virtue 德 then 而 good things 福 will happen (return) to you 反 - with "也" as an emphasis.

 

"In the second practice (English to Chinese), question number 6, there is a 也 at the end of the sentence - does this indicate that the second sentence is an answer to the question posed first?  I'm starting to find it hard to not just ignore it whenever I see a 也, it seems to have a pretty weak role."

- I spent a while to see if it was a kind of 是 sentence from lesson 7, but also just came to the conclusion this 也 is just a classical 啊

 

"One problem I had this lesson was with the use of 得, especially 得以.  Did I miss this being defined somewhere? Should I just interpret it as "in order to" or something similar?  For example, the line 穆公卒得以解难胜晋, I can break down like this:"

- I read this as an example of the "suppressed" object. 穆公卒得 (THEM - the horse eaters - or 之) 以解难胜晋. Or all in English - "in the end Mu Gong got the help of the horse eaters and used them to win a difficult battle against the Jin"

 

 

Okay and here's my translation of the text before I go see how close I was (only the sentences I had to pause and think about that I didn't mention above)

 

吾聞食駿馬肉不飲酒者殺人 - "I heard that eating a good horse without drinking will kill you". Here I think the 者 is nominalising  the sentence. Else if it means X-er it would read something like "I heard that the people who eat good horse meat but don't drink kill people" - which is how I first read this sentence.

 

即以次飲之酒 - "then immediately made them drink alcohol one by one" - with the 飲 here having a sense of 使 built into it

 

可以出死報食馬得酒之恩矣 - "we can repay the favour of giving us alcohol even though we ate the horse by risking our lives"

 

 

update - okay I think the only sentence i got really wrong was this one: "穆公卒得以解難勝靳". I read the last bit as "win a difficult battle over Jin" when it should be "solve his difficulty (the siege) and defeat Jin". This "解難勝晉" almost sounds like a modern 成語 - "solve difficulties, defeat enemy"! I went wrong by reading 解 as verb acting on 圍 (the siege) then 難 as an adverb modifying 勝 (with difficulty win - or win with difficulty against)

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"Is the 為 making this 'does good'? I was thinking it was 'for the sake of...', (but for the sake of whom?) or 'to be', it didn't make sense at the the beginning of the sentence."

-This caught me too. Took me a while to realise that the 爲 is "do" not "for".

 

 

It's the same use as in lesson 1: 為善者,天報以德。

 

此德出而福反也

 

 

My take, literally: it's (也)  there  (此) that virtue came out (德出) and so (而) prosperity returned (福反)

 

吾聞食駿馬肉不飲酒者殺人: "I heard that the people who eat good horse meat but don't drink kill people" - which is how I first read this sentence.

 

 

Did exactly the same mistake :)  Is that interpretation grammatically impossible or just semantically implausible? 

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"My take, literally: it's (也)  there  (此) that virtue came out (德出) and so (而) prosperity returned (福反)"

 

Ah yeah this quite good :clap

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